• Correction: Exxon Mobil-Gay Rights story

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    IRVING, Texas (AP) — In a story July 22 about new federal anti-discrimination rules, The Associated Press reported erroneously the value of Exxon Mobil Corp. shares held by investors who supported amending the company's equal employment opportunity statement. The New York state comptroller said the investors' shares are worth about $51.4 billion, not $41.5 billion. A corrected version of the story is below: Exxon Mobil says it'll follow new anti-bias rules Exxon Mobil says it will comply with new federal protections for gay, transgender workers IRVING, Texas (AP) — Exxon Mobil Corp.

  • Terror threats at chemical plants underestimated

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The government is underestimating the threat of a chemical attack on America's densely populated cities and has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it considers particularly vulnerable to terrorists, congressional investigators say. The yearlong investigation by Republican staff on the Senate Homeland Security Committee paints a portrait of inspection delays, government errors in risk assessment and industry loopholes in a $595 million terror prevention program passed by Congress in 2006. Coming a year after a massive explosion at a West, Texas, fertilizer plant, the report points to threats from the release of toxic and flammable chemicals.

  • Fed offers a dual message on health of US economy

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve offered a mixed message on the U.S. economy Wednesday: Growth is strengthening, and the unemployment rate is steadily falling. Yet by some measures, the job market remains subpar. A statement the Fed issued after a two-day policy meeting suggested it wants to see further improvement before it starts raising its key short-term interest rate. It offered no clearer hint of when it will raise that rate. Instead, the Fed reiterated its plan to keep short-term rates low "for a considerable time" after ends its monthly bond purchases. The Fed said it will slow the pace of its purchases by another $10 billion to $25 billion a month. The purchases, which have been intended to keep long-term borr

  • Winemakers want NY to deny gas storage permits

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Finger Lakes winemakers and other business owners asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday to deny permits for natural gas and propane storage facilities in former salt mines along Seneca Lake, saying the projects would bring heavy industry, more truck traffic and an unacceptable risk of catastrophic accidents to a region that thrives on tourism. Opponents of Houston-based Crestwood Midstream's project said at a news conference in Albany that it would endanger drinking water, the local economy and the region's wine and tourism industry. "There is no justification for jeopardizing the Finger Lakes' place as an international destination for world-class agri-tourism," said Lou Damiani, owner of Damiani Wine Cel

  • Ohio: 2nd fine levied against prison food vendor

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state on Wednesday announced a second fine against the private vendor that took over the job of feeding inmates last year as the company defended its operations before a prisons oversight committee. The $130,200 fine against Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services covered continued staffing shortages, unacceptable food substitutions and shortages and sanitation issues, including maggots observed in food service operations at five prisons this month and last, according to Ohio's July 23 letter to the company. "There were and there are remaining concerns," Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, told members of the Correctional Institution Inspection Comm

  • Twitter and DreamWorks are big market movers

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market: NYSE Twitter Inc., up $7.71 to $46.30 The short messaging service reported stronger-than-expected quarterly profit as revenue more than doubled and its user base grew. United States Steel Corp., up $5.36 to $33.03 The steelmaker narrowed its quarterly loss, beat Wall Street expectations and expects to see growth in its operating income. Penn West Petroleum Ltd., down $1.30 to $7.85 The oil company said it is conducting an audit of its accounting practices and will have to restate certain financial statements. Hess Corp., up $1.63 to $101.

  • A look at the EU's new sanctions against Russia

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's sanctions against Russia are bound to inflict pain on the country's ailing economy. While still narrowly targeted, they come as a warning shot to convince Moscow to change its Ukraine policies or face even tougher penalties. Here's a look at the sanctions and their potential impact. ___ FINANCIAL SANCTIONS The sanctions prohibit the sale of bonds and shares on EU market by banks that are controlled by the Russian government. No EU firms will be allowed to help those banks in placing debt on international financial markets, and EU investors will also be barred from buying such bonds or shares on all markets. The state-owned banks last year issued 7.

  • GOP blocks tax hike on firms moving overseas

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican senators blocked an election-year bill Wednesday to limit tax breaks for U.S. companies that move operations overseas. The bill would have prohibited companies from deducting expenses related to moving their operations to a foreign country. It also would have offered tax credits to companies that move operations to the U.S. from a foreign country. The Senate voted 54-42 to end debate on the bill, six short of the 60 votes needed to advance it. The White House says President Barack Obama supports the legislation.

  • Sanctions will damage Russia if not lifted quickly

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    MOSCOW (AP) — U.S. and European sanctions against Russia's energy and finance sectors are strong enough to cause deep, long-lasting damage within months unless Moscow persuades the West to repeal them by withdrawing support for Ukrainian insurgents. The U.S. and European Union released details Wednesday of new sanctions aimed at hurting Russia's economy without doing undue damage to their own trade interests, punishment for alleged Russian support for Ukrainian rebels and Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. The sanctions go further than earlier penalties — which had largely targeted individuals — by broadly limiting the trade of weapons and of technology that can be used in the oil and military ind

  • Processing issue delays bar exam submissions

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Law school graduates sweated their way through the second and final day of their bar exams Wednesday, some relieved to see paper and pencil after running into a technical glitch that kept test takers in several states from uploading the first day's answers from their computers. The Florida-based software provider ExamSoft Worldwide Inc. said the processing problem created a six-hour backlog that had been cleared by early Wednesday morning. The cause was being investigated, spokesman Kenneth Knotts said.

  • Ticket me Elmo: NYC weighs street character law

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — A summer spike in costumed characters behaving badly in Times Square — most recently a Spider-Man accused of punching a police officer — has turned up the heat on plans to regulate the legions of Elmos, Cookie Monsters and Statues of Liberty who often demand money for posing in photos with tourists. "This has gone too far," a frustrated Mayor Bill de Blasio said this week. "It's time to take some real steps to regulate this reality." But that could be easier said than done. Legal experts say proposals for a city law to rein in the characters — possibly by requiring licenses and background checks — could violate free-speech rights.

  • Review: 3Doodler is fun but quirky '3-D pen'

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — 3-D printing is all the rage. You can hit a button on your computer, which sends a file to a printer, which produces a small 3-D object out of plastic. It's a cool technology, but it's not exactly a hands-on way to make things. Enter the 3Doodler: the pen that turns you into the 3-D printer. The $99 3Doodler, made by Boston-based startup Wobbleworks, is a fat pen not unlike a hot glue gun. It needs to be plugged into a wall outlet. A stick of plastic goes in on the blunt end and comes out, melted, at the tip. As you move your hand, it leaves a thin trail of cooling, solidifying plastic. Move it around with a plan, laying down string upon string, and an object starts taking shape. It's easy to get start

  • Portland, Oregon, council OKs short-term rentals

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland, Oregon, City Council has voted to legalize short-term rentals in single-family homes, giving added legitimacy to rental websites such as Airbnb. Homeowners will be allowed to rent one or two bedrooms once a safety inspection is done and neighbors are notified. The city is requiring rental websites to collect lodging taxes. Airbnb says it started doing that July 1 in anticipation of Wednesday's vote. Mayor Charlie Hales and the city commissioners say they want Portland to be active in what they called the "sharing economy." Later this year, they plan to discuss whether to also legalize short-term rentals in apartment buildings.

  • Ad Watch: Claims in Pennsylvania governor's race

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    A look at key claims being made in TV ads that are being aired in Pennsylvania's campaign for governor ahead of the Nov. 4 election. ____ THEME: Republican Gov. Tom Corbett attacks Democrat Tom Wolf TITLE: "Hyper Tour" LENGTH: 30 seconds AIRING: TV stations statewide starting July 23 KEY CLAIMS: "When Tom Wolf was the state's top tax collector, he tried to raise taxes on almost everything. Wolf called for a new garbage tax, and home heating and electric tax. Wolf even tried increasing the state sales tax. Now Wolf says as governor he'd raise the income tax on many workers. But thanks to Wolf, one person got lower taxes. Tom Wolf. Wolf's company moved to Delaware to avoid paying the same taxes he forced

  • Tons of coal ash removed from old SC power plant

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    CONWAY, S.C. (AP) — Santee Cooper has removed 42,000 tons of coal ash from ash lagoons at its old Grainger Generating Station near Conway. The Southern Environmental Law Center said Wednesday the information is contained in a report released this week. Last year, the center reached an agreement to have the utility remove 1.3 million tons of ash from the plant site on the Waccamaw River. The center had sued on behalf of environmental groups claiming the lagoons discharged arsenic into the groundwater and river. The SELC said at the current rate, the ash will be removed within six years, well ahead of the 10 years required in the settlement.

  • Tri-state coal interests rally before hearings

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — More than 2,000 union workers and others organized by the coal industry in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia joined top state elected officials Wednesday to rally against proposed stricter federal pollution regulations for coal-burning power plants. The rally came a day before the Environmental Protection Agency holds public hearings in downtown Pittsburgh. It says its proposed regulations will cut carbon pollution 30 percent by the year 2030. Hearings were held in Atlanta, Denver and Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday. Gov. Tom Corbett, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor contend that the regulations will drive up electricity prices and cut energy jobs, all to reach goals

  • Ex-IRS official called conservatives 'crazies

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A former IRS official at the heart of the agency's tea party controversy called some right-wing Republicans "crazies" and more in emails released Wednesday. Lois Lerner headed the IRS division that handles applications for tax-exempt status. In a series of emails with a colleague in November 2012, Lerner made two disparaging remarks about some members of the GOP, including one remark that was profane. Rep. Dave Camp, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, released the emails Wednesday as part of his committee's investigation. The Michigan Republican says the emails show Lerner's "disgust with conservatives." In one email, Lerner called some conservatives crazies. In the other, she called them

  • Correction: Debt Study story

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — In a story July 29 about consumer debt reported to collection agencies, The Associated Press erroneously indicated that 80 percent of Americans have no debt on file. The study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute found that 20 percent of Americans with credit records have no debt on file. A corrected version of the story is below: Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors More than a third of Americans reported to collection agencies for unpaid bills and debts By JOSH BOAK AP Economics Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Inst

  • Lawyer sues GM on behalf of 658 plaintiffs

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    DETROIT (AP) — A Texas lawyer has filed a lawsuit against General Motors on behalf of 658 people who were injured or killed in crashes allegedly caused by faulty ignition switches. The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan in New York City names 29 people who were killed in crashes and 629 who were hurt. All the crashes occurred after GM emerged from bankruptcy protection in July of 2009. That makes them exempt from GM's efforts to shield itself from claims due to crashes that occurred before the bankruptcy, attorney Robert Hilliard said in a statement. Hilliard also said he will ask judges for permission to file another 248 cases from before the bankruptcy, including 21 deaths.

  • Former IRS official called GOP 'crazies' in email

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A former IRS official at the heart of the agency's tea party controversial called Republicans "crazies" and more in newly released emails. Lois Lerner used to head the IRS division that handles applications for tax-exempt status. In a series of emails with a colleague in November 2012, Lerner made two disparaging remarks about members of the GOP, including one remark that was profane. Republican Rep. Dave Camp, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, released the emails Wednesday as part of his committee's investigation. Camp says the emails show Lerner's disgust with conservatives. In one email, Lerner called them crazies. In the other, she called them "assholes.